Why Questions Work
Questions direct the focus of our brains. When someone is talking we can be listening to them, or thinking about whatever it is we want to be thinking about. When someone asks us a question however, we are compelled to answer. At minimum, we are obligated to stop thinking about whatever we were thinking about, and start to consider an answer (or at least, think about what we are being asked). No matter how you look at it, the point is that questions interrupt our thought process and encourage involvement with the person asking the questions.
Questions get involvement
That is why questions, and how they are asked, can make such a huge difference in your selling. Too often sales people are guilty of throwing out a bunch of information and hoping that the client will interrupt them at some point to say they will take it. We don’t want to do that however. We want to make sure we are leading the sales process (not pushing) and that the client is with us every step of the way. That is why it is critical to get their involvement, as well as their agreement, as we progress through the process.
Many times, it’s a subtle turn of phrase that turns a statement, or an “OK” question, into something much more powerful at leading the sales process to the next step. Small things, big difference.
For example: A restaurant owner saw a 20% decrease in his reservation no-show rates by instructing his front desk to change a couple of words they used. Instead of saying, “Please call us if you change your plans," they started asking, "WILL you call us if you change your plans?" Not everyone that said they would call did. However, more people called to say they would not make it in for their reservation when they were asked directly than did when the restaurant simply suggested they call. By changing things up slightly they were able to fill those tables that could have gone empty and thereby increase their revenues.
How does it sound in your world?
When asking for an appointment, don’t ask , “do you want to meet?” instead ask, “WHEN do you want to get together?” Ask a different question and you get the client to focus on different answers. One question will see them asking themselves, consciously or unconsciously, “Do I, or don’t I, want to meet with this person?” The other has them thinking about what the best day is for them to meet. This obviously increases the odds of the person booking the appointment and, if everything else is done correctly, will increase your conversion rates.
Don’t suggest after presenting a product you thought they may like: “if you think that would be helpful then let me know and I can set it up for you”. Instead, look for direct feedback. Ask more of a commitment question like, “How do you feel about that, do you think it would be helpful?”
Don't be shy
Don’t shy away from asking questions because you may not like the answer. That’s part of selling. Remember, the goal is not to tell as many people about your products as you can. The goal is to find out how many of your clients have the problems that your products solve and then present the solution best suited to them and ask them to buy. It’s better to ask a more direct qualifying question early on and determine they are not a prospect than it is to waste your time getting into a detailed presentation on a product that the person will never buy.
Ask better questions, get better answers. Go to work looking for, and refining, subtle areas of your sales conversations that will direct your clients focus down a path you want it to go.
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